Thursday, September 8, 2016
Celebrity Death Pool
Newsflash: celebrities die.
Sure, they lead different lives than the rest of us civilians. They're the first ones to board a plane, often enjoying their tall flute of champagne before the schlubs in Boarding Section Q start lugging their torn Samsonites with the one wobbly wheel back to Seat 79D, three inches from the toilet, and 5 hours of errant blue water mist.
But at the end of the day, or the end of 70+ years, the mortuary assistant puts their pants on one leg at a time. Just like you, me and Betty Bag O'Donuts.
Last week, following an abnormally long list of celebrities who have gone to the other side in 2016, it was Gene Wilder's turn.
I loved Gene Wilder as much as the next fellow.
Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, the Producers, he was great, blah, blah, blah. But let's be honest, I haven't seen or heard his name in the last three years, so his departure is hardly going to...wait, I want to quote somebody on Facebook...
"leave a gaping hole in my comedic soul that is still fresh from the emotional crater left by Robin William's departure."
I don't want to seem hardhearted, but it's hard not to laugh at the stream of the overwrought postmortems that flood social media the minute some actor, actress or musician kicks the can.
And the bigger they are, the sappier it all gets. When Prince left us...
"I feel like a purple shroud has been draped over my heart, blinding to me to any possible happiness that may be on the horizon. I am crushed beyond words and will no doubt emerge a lesser man."
Not to be outdone, the David Bowie fangirls and fanguys had a field day...
"If there is a God, he or she is no doubt enjoying a front row seat to the eternal genius that was Bowie. Take me now, Lord, so that I may sit next to you for one more stirring encore of China Girl."
When I heard of Gene Wilder's passing, I thought, "damn, he was funny." I still remember seeing him in a hilarious scene when Zero Mostel tells him how their plan has gone terribly wrong and may result in a prison sentence. Wilder has a tantrum and to calm him down Mostel throws a glass of water in his face.
"I'm wet. I'm hysterical. And I'm wet."
The news did not debilitate me, rendering me useless for the rest of the day. I had some banner ads to write, so I moved on.
Besides, when all is said and done, the genius behind all the laughter doesn't come from the guy reading the lines it comes from the guy writing them, Mel Brooks.
When he passes, I'll be crushed.